The City of Pickering passed a unanimous motion, tasking the federal and provincial governments to expand the scope of the Ontario Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) to include landlords that do not hold a commercial mortgage.
The aim of OCECRA is to provide relief for small businesses experiencing hardship due to Covid-19 by offering forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners. In turn, the landlords can reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants and also meet their operating expenses on commercial properties. At this time, the program is available only to landlords that hold a commercial mortgage, the city said.
The motion, passed at the May 13 special council meeting, was introduced by Councillor McLean and seconded by Councillor Brenner. It also asks that the provincial government prohibit any commercial evictions under the Commercial Tenancies Act until at least August 31, 2020.
“Small businesses are an integral part of our economy here in Pickering and across the nation. We applaud the provincial and federal governments for working together to help provide much needed financial relief to the business community. However, we want to see the expansion of OCECRA so that more commercial landlords will be able to offer assistance to their tenants,” said Deputy Mayor, Kevin Ashe.